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Thursday, November 15, 2012
West will be big in 2012-13

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

I have heard comments from fans that there is an East Coast bias out there. My friends, I love the sport of college basketball, and I do not have a biased opinion at all.

Last season was tough for the Pac-12 and out West in general. This season is going to be a different story.

Already the West has made some noise. Look at what Gonzaga did to West Virginia during the Tip-Off marathon. Mark Few always has a quality team, and this season is no exception. Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. can flat-out shoot the rock. Elias Harris is a force on the baseline. I love the play of David Stockton, the son of Hall of Famer John Stockton.

Elias Harris
Elias Harris is part of a strong group that will take Gonzaga far.

New Mexico showed its determination coming from behind to knock off a very good Davidson team, one that should be heard from come tournament time. Bob McKillop's squad is the favorite in the Southern Conference and stunned the fans at The Pit with a 14-point halftime lead. Steve Alford's squad rallied as Tony Snell finished with 25 points while Kendall Williams added 17.

Look for the Lobos to battle UNLV and San Diego State in the Mountain West. Diaper dandy Anthony Bennett is the real deal for the Runnin' Rebels. The Aztecs lost early to Syracuse but Steve Fisher's club is loaded, led by Jamal Franklin.

Then there is the Pac-12. Arizona and UCLA had super recruiting classes, though the Bruins are still waiting for Shabazz Muhammad to be cleared. Sean Miller has a very deep squad and Solomon Hill should have a solid season. Jordin Mayes now comes off the bench to supply depth for the Wildcats.

Ben Howland's club had a recent scare, winning in overtime against UC-Irvine. One diaper dandy who got off to a fast start for the Bruins is Jordan Adams. This team will get better and better with experience. I am looking forward to seeing them on Monday against Georgetown at the Legends Classic.

California and Stanford will also be heard from in the Pac-12. Allen Crabbe is a PTP'er for the Golden Bears who can dominate a game.

I know Washington was stunned early on by Albany, but Lorenzo Romar's unit will be in the thick of things as well.

There is good reason for optimism out west. College basketball has its share of positives in the 2012-13 season.